Failure interviews brain and memory authority Tony Buzan.
In the classic 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow wonders what he might accomplish if he only had a brain. Tony Buzan ponders how he can get individuals to maximize the mental capacity they already possess. For the past 30 years, Buzan’s mission has been to raise public awareness about the potential of the human brain—writing, lecturing and teaching individuals how to improve their memory, creativity and problem solving ability. In the process, he’s created his own cottage industry, demonstrating what’s possible if you only “Use Your Head”—the title of one of his best-selling books. Among his other achievements, Buzan is the founder of the World Memory Championships and inventor of Mind Maps®, a paper-and-pencil system of planning and note taking designed to promote creativity and imagination. On March 1—in the midst of a month-long U.S. tour to promote his new book “How To Mind Map” (Thorsons)—Buzan attended the 2003 U.S. Memory Championship (Memoriad) in New York City, where Failure presented him with a handful of questions on the subject of memory.
What’s the difference between the competitors at the Memoriad and the average person?
The difference is that they are here. In other words, their brains are the same. The people who compete in memory competitions include students, musicians, journalists, computer technicians, writers, teachers, laborers, psychiatric workers, nurses, lawyers, gardeners—you name the profession. They are interested because the fundamental glue that joins everybody together is memory. Whatever your profession or your hobby, you’ve got to remember information about it. Whatever your situation, memory is a prime—if not the prime—survival tool.